“I have given you the horseman’s power…the power of DEATH. Now give me…FEAR.”
After a sophomore slump, Sleepy Hollow returned with a bit of a makeover this season with its episode ‘I, Witness.’ The big changes fans were promised ended up feeling rather low-key and I’m not sure that every change that was made was even necessary. The episode was entertaining though with plenty Ichabbie.
Last season ended with the deaths of Ichabod’s wife and son along with the defeating of Moloch. The witnesses had saved the world from The Apocalypse. So where did that leave the them now that their mission had been accomplished? Ichabod left to go find himself while Abbie focused on her career, getting promoted to the FBI. Don’t worry though, Abbie said it’s still okay for Ichabod to call her ‘Leftenant.’
The season begins nine months after where it left off. Abbie hasn’t heard from Ichabod in awhile when she gets a call from him letting her know he has been incacerated for trying to enter the country with restricted material. He was smuggling a tablet that he had found in his family tome. The inscription on the tablet suggests that their work as witnesses is not done as they will endure seven trials.
Abbie is able to get her friend out of jail and fill him in on the happenings while he was away. The library where they did all their research is set to be demolished in favor of a mini-mall. Jenny has been bouncing from job to job trying to make a legitimate living. Irving has gone into hiding with her help in order to protect his family. Yes folks, I’m sad to report that it looks like Orlando Jones will not be a regular this season. That leaves the current team of Ichabod, Abbie and Jenny.
There is a new big bad. Pandora played by Shannyn Sossamon (Wayward Pines, Mistresses, Moonlight). Yes, that Pandora. She even has a box which according to her “is actually more of a dowery.” This is how The Headless Horseman mets his demise. She traps him in her box, trading his power of death for the power of fear. I’m not really sure what her intentions are because not much information is given about her in the episode other than the fact that she’s a witch and presumably evil.
Pandora unleashes some demons that can manipulate fear which the teams is able to defeat naturally. The demon attack convinces Abbie that “Evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow,” and brings the team back together to fight the bad guys again.
There is another new character that has a brief introduction via flashbacks to colonial times – Betsy Ross played by Nikki Reed (The Twilight Saga, The O.C., Thirteen, Mini’s First Time). Turns out being a seamstress was just a cover and she was actually a butt-kicking agent for the American army. She also has a thing for English spies with with nice hair. We just got a glimpse of her so it is uncertain what her importance will be right now. I suspect that she will eventually end up in modern times at a later date.
While this first episode was set up for the season, it only gave a taste of what the retooled show would look like. It was a more reserved episode of Sleepy Hollow than I’m used to seeing and I didn’t feel all the character connections that make the series enjoyable. ‘I, Witness’ succeeds in telling viewers what’s different but not in telling us why those elements were different. It felt less intense and more contained. I think the second episode of the season will be more telling.
My biggest disappointed is that Irving and the Headless Horseman are gone now. I enjoyed both of those characters as well as the actors who played them. They made Sleepy Hollow feel more like part of the same universe as the original short story for which the series is based. I feel those unique characters are also needed to distinguish Sleepy Hollow from new series Minority Report, which has taken over Sleepy Hollow’s previous time slot.
There are a couple of other new characters that will be popping up this season that have yet to be introduced. As far as the two that were present in this episode go though, I have mixed feelings. I like Pandora. Even though we don’t know much about her yet, she’s spooky and the concept is intriguing. Sossamon is well cast in the witchy role. She is able to embody the other-worldly nature of her dark character. Then there is Betsy Ross…. My first impression of her is not very favorable. Perhaps that will change later. I’m used to seeing Reed playing bratty and/or promiscuous teenagers and that’s pretty much how she comes off in the role. She’s the kind of character that plays into the fantasies of gamers and comic book fans. I’m not sure if that was the point or not but she clashes with the other portrayals of strong woman that are already a part of Sleepy Hollow.
In all, the episode was fun with more of a stand alone feel than the heavily serialized second season. I’m most intrigued by the new villian Pandora. What’s her threat and why? I feel like the new season will find it’s footing quickly after this initial set up. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few episodes can do for the series.
What did you think of the new season of Sleepy Hollow? Hit the comments below to share your thoughts!
Photos courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Michael Lavine/FOX.